5 omicron COVID variant cases confirmed in NY: Hochul

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NEW YORK — Five cases of the omicron COVID variant have been detected in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Thursday.

The news came hours after officials confirmed a man who attended a convention in Manhattan in late November tested positive for the variant.

“This is not cause for alarm,” Hochul said. “We knew this variant was coming and we have the tools to stop the spread.”

One of the cases was in Suffolk County. A 67-year-old woman tested positive, Hochul said. Her symptoms — a headache and a cough — were mild. She had some vaccination history, but it was unclear how many shots she’d had.

The woman had recently traveled to South Africa. She tested negative for COVID when she returned on Nov. 25, but then tested positive during a Nov. 30 test. That result was sent to a lab and then identified as a case of the omicron variant.

There were also two positive tests connected to Queens, one in Brooklyn and one from an unspecified location in the five boroughs. Vaccination information wasn’t clear for those individuals.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said there were likely more cases in the city.

“We’re assuming in New York City there is community spread at this point,” he said.

De Blasio and NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi urged people to mask up indoors and get vaccinated.

Officials had warned that the omicron variant was expected to come to New York.

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